Treatment Programs

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Fibromuscular Dysplasia Program

The Fibromuscular Dysplasia Treatment Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center provides patients with specialized care for fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), a commonly misdiagnosed condition in which the artery is abnormally formed, causing portions to thicken, narrow and even enlarge.

Comprehensive, Specialized Care

The Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center is one of the only vascular centers in the country with specialists in every area of vascular disease. Our physicians are known nationally for their expertise in diagnosing, treating and helping patients manage fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD).
A Multidisciplinary Approach to Treating
Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Because FMD is a relatively uncommon condition, it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as symptoms can be completely absent or hard to detect. It commonly affects young women who have been healthy up until this point in their lives. Learn more about fibromuscular dysplasia

Our Fibromuscular Dysplasia Program brings together a team of clinicians who work together to first diagnose and then develop a recommended treatment plan for patients with FMD. These clinicians bring expertise from a wide range of disciplines including:

  • Cardiology/vascular medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Genetic research
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Neuroendovascular therapy
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Psychiatry/psychology
  • Vascular and endovascular surgery
  • Vascular imaging and intervention

We work together with the patient and referring physician to coordinate a personalized treatment plan for every patient.

Specialists Dedicated to Vascular Imaging
To accurately diagnose FMD, our team includes vascular imaging specialists who are trained to detect abnormalities in the vascular system.

These vascular imaging specialists are board certified and are fellowship trained with additional specialization in vascular procedures. Depending on the patient, we may use one or more techniques to diagnose FMD, including:

  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA), which uses a combination of X-rays, contrast dye and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body
  • Contrast arteriography, which uses contrast dye to see the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body, especially the arteries, veins and chambers of the heart
  • Duplex ultrasonography, a technique that uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues and organs. Duplex ultrasonography is used to measure and assess the flow of blood
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), a noninvasive procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body

Many of our diagnostic tests are also available at our convenient Waltham location.

Leading Treatments for Fibromuscular Dysplasia

Clinicians in the Fibromuscular Dysplasia Program are national leaders in the medical, endovascular and surgical treatment of vascular disease. Treatment is determined according to the severity of a patient’s condition and includes:

  • Medical therapy: Medications used to manage FMD include antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs to prevent blood clots, and drugs to control blood pressure
  • Minimally invasive endovascular therapy: Physicians may use a minimally invasive procedure known as percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) to open narrowed sections of arteries affected by FMD. In this technique, a balloon-tipped catheter (thin, flexible tube) is threaded through the affected artery to expand it. A stent, which is a tiny metal-mesh tube, may occasionally be inserted to keep the artery open. PTA is less invasive than open surgery and results in faster recovery times
  • Surgery: This intervention re-routes blood flow around the diseased artery and may be used in severe cases or when PTA is not an option

Lifelong Support for Patients

Although FMD can be controlled successfully, there is no cure. For some patients, FMD may be a recurring condition that requires lifelong monitoring by your physician. Depending on your individual case, we may recommend follow-up visits at a frequent occurrence at first, and then ultimately once or twice a year. Because FMD can increase the risk of high blood pressure, impaired kidney function, aneurysm, stroke and other complications, we carefully watch patients for these possible complications. We collaborate with specialists who are knowledgeable about the implications of FMD on other aspects of your life. If needed, we can also refer you for:

  • Psychosocial treatment: FMD often affects young, otherwise healthy women, and coping with it can be difficult. We work closely with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, psychologists and other mental health professionals who offer counseling to help patients deal with the stress and anxiety that may accompany the condition
  • Obstetrics and gynecological care: Specialists in obstetrics and gynecology can advise patients with FMD about the use of oral contraceptives, estrogen therapy and other hormone-based medications, which can affect blood flow in the arteries
  • Genetic counseling: Because FMD appears to run in families, women of childbearing age may receive counseling about the genetic basis of the condition

Advancing Research and InnovationAs an academic medical center, Mass General leads research to understand disease and develop new approaches in treatment. We participate in the National Fibromuscular Dysplasia Registry, which collects data from different centers throughout the United States on FMD cases. Data in the registry is used by researchers and clinicians to better understand and improve the diagnosis and treatment of FMD. Each patient who is seen in our program is asked to participate. Consenting patients allow us to enter data about patient history, symptoms, findings on imaging tests and treatment into this registry. Data entered does not include any personal identification.

Convenient Waltham Location
Specialists in the FMD program practice at Mass General and at our convenient location in Waltham. Mass General West offers outpatient services for people with FMD, including imaging, consultation and coordinated care with multiple specialists. Free garage parking is also available. Learn about treatments and services at our outpatient care center in Waltham

One Call Coordinates Care
Our dedicated nurse coordinator, who is very knowledgeable about FMD, is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and FMD-related symptoms and to make a timely appointment with the most appropriate specialist. Request an appointment online

We strive to see patients as soon as possible and assign every patient one clinician to organize care among members of our multidisciplinary team. From diagnosis to treatment and follow up, this clinician guides patients through the treatment process.

 

Conditions and Diseases

The care team at the Fireman Vascular Center encourages all patients and family members to learn more about conditions and diseases that affect the cardiovascular system. The links below provide more information about vascular conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia
Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is the abnormal development or growth of cells in the walls of the body’s arteries. As a result of this growth, areas of the arteries can thicken, narrow and even enlarge, making it difficult for blood to flow though them.

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed.

Renal Vascular Disease

Renal vascular disease is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys.

Support and Wellness

Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.

Designing an Exercise Program

When you exercise, you'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Healthy Eating

Many vascular conditions can be improved by changing certain lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of many factors. If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food.

Determining Your Body Mass Index

A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia Society Conference
Clinicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center are sponsors of the Fibromuscular Dysplasia Society of America 3rd annual conference, educating the public about a relatively unknown, but important, vascular condition called fibromuscular dysplasia.

Access to new treatments

Fireman Vascular Center physicians and scientists participate in international research and lead more than 70 clinical trials that evaluate current therapies and investigate new devices to treat vascular disease. These research efforts have led to a number of groundbreaking firsts, bringing innovative new treatments to the patient’s bedside.

Guy Rordorf, MD, recommends an imaging test for anyone with a family history of FMD

Guy Rordorf, MD, vascular neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center, says an imaging test can detect fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), and recommends it for those with a family history of the condition. Learn more about FMD and how it weakens artery walls and can lead to severe hypertension or stroke.

Designing an Exercise Program

When you exercise, you'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Healthy Eating

Many vascular conditions can be improved by changing certain lifestyle factors. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of many factors. If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food.

Determining Your Body Mass Index

A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat.

Vascular Center

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 877-644-8346
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


Vascular Center at Waltham52 Second Avenue, Suite 2100
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 
877-644-8346
Hours:
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Learn about our convenient Waltham location

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Request an appointment at the Fireman Vascular Center

Contact the Fireman Vascular Center to schedule an appointment with one of our vascular specialists

Learn about the Fireman Vascular Center in Waltham

Did you know the Fireman Vascular Center has a convenient location in Waltham? Learn about treatments and services at our outpatient care center.